Real Talk.

Parenting is hard. Such a short sentence packed with so much truth and vulnerability…

Before I begin, let me say that I am beyond grateful for both of my children. As a woman who was told “children won’t be likely”, I can assure you that not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for them. I often look into their eyes and feel awe and a sense of wonder and feel just downright lucky that they are mine to care for. I often get a lump in my throat when I think about how far we’ve come.

Soon after Sadler was born almost 7 years ago, someone told me, “if parenting is easy, you aren’t doing it right.”

Reid and I have been in a season with Everly lately that has tested every bit of patience we’ve prayed for and has aroused every ounce of fear hiding in the shadows of my mind that say, “You’re not doing enough”, “You’re not a good mom.”, “You’ll never measure up.” Yes, we know what happens when you pray for patience. You don’t get patience, you get opportunities to *be patient*. And I have not passed all the tests.

There’s an ebb and flow of emotion, where I find myself smiling while encapsulated in their voices and stories one moment, and biting my lip in a fit of anger in the next. In the blink of an eye, it all seems to go awry sometimes.

Thankfully, there is an awareness that continues to sweep over me and I catch myself often before this happens. But it still happens from time to time, and lately it’s been happening almost every night at bedtime.

I will be the first to admit that mornings at 5AM when the house is quiet and I can sit in stillness and peace, I’m at my best. But bedtime has come to be the part of the day that I absolutely dread. I literally anticipate whats to come and work myself up to thinking it will be different this time. And by the time we are ready to say our prayers, I’m literally crying as I ask for forgiveness for losing my temper.

Tonight at gymnastics, I talked about our 3-year-old bedtime tantrums with a fellow mama/friend/family member —one who happens to have *double* the amount of children we do and often comes to mind when I feel like *I’ve* got a lot on my plate. (She literally is my parenting hero.) We swapped stories and laughed as we shared book titles that have been recommended to us through the years. It was encouraging to be reminded that we aren’t alone, and to also be validated in our thinking that whomever dubbed the “terrible twos” as the hardest part of toddlerhood got it WAY WRONG.

Tonight after dinner, a wave of peace and confidence came over me. Bath (shower) time was actually enjoyable rather than a fight. We sang. We laughed. We acted silly.

I decided to read one my all time favorites to them, “The Velveteen Rabbit”. They recently watched the movie so Sadler was eager to spot the differences between the book and the movie. Everly assisted with turning the pages and we made it about 3/4 the way through before I could tell they were getting sleepy. We decided we’d finish it tomorrow night, said our prayers and tucked in for bed.

As I read my favorite part of the book, I couldn’t help but think how God is using this season of my life to make something real out of me. Yes, my outward appearance may be wearing down in the making, and I may feel tired and defeated at the end of a day, but he’s awakening my heart and bringing me to life.

It’s easy to think when we scroll through social media that those people and families we see “have it all together”. That their lives are only made up of what is shown in the pictures they post. That they are perfectly designed so they won’t break and are full of knowledge of things and places, much like those toys The Skin Horse refers to.

Maybe you look at me and think I’m all put together, too. I am here to tell you that I am most certainly not. I am fragile, I break easily and sometimes my edges are sharp. But if there is one thing I’ve learned to be true, God uses all things for good for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Ever so slowly, He is turning me into something real and full of life, and that takes time.

I know I will look back on these moments with my kids and laugh. That I will miss the simplicity of bedtime struggles when life hands me something new in another season.

I am optimistic that just sharing this story with you will free me from expectations tomorrow night and will give me a new perspective when I’m faced with a bedtime challenge. I am thankful that even amidst the struggle, there is always a shimmer of beauty amongst the strife.

As I snuck upstairs to snap a pic of these pages in the book, there they lay. Sound asleep. Peaceful. Content. Quiet. The light from the bedside table looked like the view from inside a diamond as it gleamed around the room.

We’ve got much to be thankful for.

The Spirit of Sedona

I’ve been drawn to the idea of taking a solo vacation for about a year now. I don’t recall when I first felt it exactly, but I saw it in my mind many times. Beautiful scenery, rest, relaxation, reading, writing, outdoor exploration, disconnecting from the busyness of life. I didn’t have a strong pull toward any specific place, I just felt the urge to take a trip by myself.

Toward the end of the year, I kept being led to Sedona. I had no idea why. I’d only heard it mentioned in a Houndmouth song and honestly knew nothing about it. I didn’t even know it was in Arizona. It just kept popping up into my thoughts. I Googled it, and quickly realized that this was my place. It had all that I was looking for and I felt it through the photos on my phone screen that it was my place.

My soul sister, Ashli lives in California. We met 13 years ago at a temporary job I worked and quickly became friends. We’d only spend 6 months together before she moved away to New Jersey. And then New York. And then London. And then San Francisco. But she never left my heart, and we always have a way of picking up right where we left off each time we see other, which is hardly as often as either of us would like.

In a text conversation with her at the end of November, I mentioned my vision of taking this solo vacation. Being born a mere 14 hours apart, we decided to celebrate our January birthdays by taking a trip together. I pitched Sedona to her and the little bit I’d learned, and plans moved into motion. Flights booked. VRBO secured. It seemed too good to be true.

Work life and home life the weeks leading up to our trip had presented a good amount of stress, and I’d found myself in a bit of a funk prior to flying out Wednesday morning. I longed to be in a place of silence and solitude. Reid was completely supportive of the trip and could see how badly my soul needed it.

When I booked my flights, I didn’t select any of my seats on in advance and accepted taking it as chance where I’d sit. As I boarded my first flight in Greensboro to Charlotte, I realized I was sitting in the very last row – with a window seat at least. As I walked down the aisle to my seat, I spotted a familiar face from church. I smiled. He smiled. What are the odds that I’d see someone I know on this flight? The gentleman in the aisle seat in the back row had barely enough time to get up to move to make room for me to squeeze in before the flight attendant said, “Sir, I’m actually going to move you over here. These 2 seats are open for standby. This way you two can have a bit more room.” Score. I had both seats all to myself.
Our flight was delayed by 50 minutes, which didn’t bother me in the slightest. It gave me more time to sit and read my Bible, journal, and read a book I couldn’t wait to sink into to. Time that seems to be difficult to find in my normal life. So, I was grateful for the delay.

I landed in Charlotte with just enough time to dart to another terminal to board my flight to Phoenix. I grabbed a seat close to the boarding gate, put some Burt’s Bees on my chapped lips and chugged some water. I looked over my right shoulder and noticed a petite woman standing, seeming as if she had something to say. I smiled, and asked her if she knew where the restroom was. She pointed down the carpeted stretch of the terminal and I realized there was not enough time before I had to board. I will just go on the plane. She began to tell me that she missed her last flight because she went to the wrong airport in Washington DC and had to take a later flight. Her brother had just passed away. She was on standby for this flight and she wanted to go home. She began to weep. Hugging her seemed like the right thing in that moment. She thanked me. God, please make a way for this woman to get home, and bring her peace.

My 4 1/2 hour flight from Charlotte to Phoenix was as perfect as a middle-seat flight that long can possibly be. My new AirPods (birthday gift from my love) came in handy as I listened to the few songs I had downloaded on Apple Music on repeat. Bit the bullet and paid $16 for in-flight internet and spent 2 hours cleaning up the 5,000 emails in my Gmail, unsubscribed from a hundred emails I never read, and began to organize myself digitally. It felt cleansing, refreshing, and wonderful. To my right, a precious elderly lady who played Candy Crush on her iPad the entire flight, reading her Nicholas Sparks in between losing lives. To my left, a middle-aged male who read the newspaper and magazines. Both were pleasant. Quiet. And still. It was perfect.

As our flight landed and people began to move about the cabin, I looked 3 rows ahead of me and saw the lady from the boarding gate who was on standby. I smiled. She made it home. My heart swelled.

As I walked through the airport to the next terminal to board my last flight to Flagstaff, I texted Ashli to let her know when I would land. I texted Reid to let him know I had landed again. I enjoyed the fast pace of the conveyor belt walkway that airports have – you know, the ones that get you there just a tiny bit faster than walking with your own energy – I enjoyed the ride and watching the people that passed by.

I grabbed a quick salad and as I walked to my gate, I heard a familiar voice. “Are you on my flight, my love?!” It was my Ashli. Reunited at last, and it felt so good. A hug that seemed to last for 7 minutes quickly turned to conversation that took many turns in a short period. Our conversations are always authentic. Always deep. Always magic to my soul.

We switched our seats around so we could sit together and chatted the whole half hour to Flagstaff. We exited the plane and found ourselves in the tiniest, most precious airport imaginable. With baggage claim and the car rental desk right in front of us, it seemed like a dream.

Since Flagstaff was expecting snow in the upcoming days, the convertible she rented for us as a surprise wasn’t available, but a shiny black Jeep Wrangler Sahara was! We immediately took the top off, bundled up in our scarves and jackets and made the drive to the Grand Canyon. The Enterprise clerk suggested we take 89 all the way to the Desert View entrance – “because that’s just where the best views are”. In part due to the conversations taking place and not paying attention, we missed our exit and ended up arriving at the main entrance to Grand Canyon National Park instead. No big deal, we will just drive through the park and enjoy the views along the way to Desert View.We pulled over to put the top back on (it was pretty cold), got stuck in the mud, realized we were in a Jeep and quickly escaped. We had a good laugh.

Our unplanned detour worked to our benefit, as we could stop at several view spots along the way and get some great pictures, while taking in the serene beauty of it all. As luck would have it, we found our way to Desert View, almost exactly at sunset. Seeing the Grand Canyon with snow was a bonus and one neither of us expected. We both talked about how magical it would be to be the only people there. The silence. The tranquility. The vastness of God’s creation out in the open. It was breathtaking.

We hopped back in the Jeep to head back through Flagstaff on our way to Sedona. Scored dinner at the most incredible eclectic restaurant, SWITCH. Potato Leek Soup with Apples, Pickled French Fries, Sunchoke Panna Cotta, Braised Cauliflower, and Orange Granita with a Root Beer Sauce. IT. WAS. DELICIOUS.

On the hour drive into Sedona, my eyes were heavy. My body thought it was 11PM, and I’d been snoozing for sure if back in NC. But I stayed awake as Ashli navigated the windy roads through Sedona. I can’t wait to see this place in the daylight.

We unpacked, washed our faces, brushed our teeth, and tucked into bed. I was wide awake at 6AM the next morning, made some green tea, threw on a hoodie and toboggan, grabbed my Bible and phone and came outside to watch the sun come up. The sky was glorious. The millions of stars from the night before were fading into the distance as the sunlight kissed the sky. The mountains came to life as the light peeked over their tops. The clouds were like an abyss of cotton candy and tranquility, blended into the most beautiful sky I’ve ever laid eyes on.

As 10AM approached and my night-owl, late sleeping soul sister continued to rest, I was hungry. We hadn’t picked up any food yet for the house and my body thought it was noon. Must get food.

I showered, took the keys to the Jeep and headed out to get some breakfast. I had spotted a place called Wildflower Bread Company on our way in the night before and learned on Google that it has the “best breakfast views”. So, I ventured off on the 10-minute drive with the windows down to grab some food. When I pulled into the parking lot, I hopped out of the Jeep, not really knowing where I was going within the shopping center. I noticed a man getting out of a beautiful convertible to my right. We made eye contact, quickly. No smiles exchanged, we both just kept going about our journey.

I walked into the restaurant to get in line to order my food and noticed the same man in line in front of me. The cashier commented on his accent. “I took French in college, but I don’t remember much”, she said.

“I’m actually from Holland”, he replied.

He got his bread loaf to go, I ordered my frittata and latte and headed to a corner table outside on the veranda. Just as I was snapping my first breathtaking photo of my breakfast view, I looked over my shoulder as the same man walked outside. With arms extended, he said, “Isn’t it amazing?!”


“Oh my goodness, it really is.”

He came over to my table and sat down. It was an immediate level of comfort that is difficult to put into words. He asked where I was from and what brought me to Sedona. He and his girlfriend had lived in Sedona for 8 years; they moved here for spiritual reasons. He went on to talk about how the energy in Sedona is so very healing, and how many people visit and leave with their lives transformed. I mentioned that Ashli and I were interested in some energy healing while we were in town, and that we had a place in mind. He told me that the place we were considering was “okay”, but if we wanted a truly amazing experience, we should check out his friend, Cherie, instead. He gave me her contact information and I put it into my phone. There was an immediate sense of trust that I should listen to his guidance. This is God’s grace, guiding me in this moment.

He looked at me mid-bite of my home fries to say, “You know, when I saw you get out of your Jeep, I knew there was something you needed from me. I didn’t know what it was but when I saw you again inside the restaurant, I trusted my intuition and I approached you.” He and his girlfriend, Iona, rent out part of their home on AirBNB. He passed along their business card. Well, I know where I will be staying next time I’m here. I can’t wait for Reid to visit this amazing place. The views were breathtaking.

Huib told me about the myofascial release work that he does–that he and Iona are healers themselves. He talked about how our society today is so very quick to hear from doctor that their hip needs to be replaced, when taking a whole-body approach to determine the root cause of the pain or symptom is more effective. Music to my ears, and I couldn’t have agreed more. I mentioned how chiropractic care was a big part of wellness for my family and that I didn’t rely much on manmade medications. “I knew that when I saw you”, he said.

Huib told me about free spiritual classes that were held every day in Sedona. I tucked the card into my wallet and couldn’t wait to get back to Ashli to share about all my new findings.
As I finished my breakfast and savored the moment of solitude and reflection, I sent a text to Cherie, the energy healer. We were chatting on the phone within 15 minutes and appointments for sessions the very next were booked. I drove back to our house and couldn’t help but thank God for the miracle I’d just encountered.

Ashli and I headed out to Safeway to get groceries for the next 4 days, came home and unpacked them and headed back out for some Sedona exploration. We spent a few hours at The Chapel of the Holy Cross. I’d seen a picture prior to making the trip, but never could have I imagined the breathtaking site in person of what I’d witness: a giant wooden cross, dropped into the face of the mountain, overlooking the serene landscape of Sedona. On the other side of the cross, a massive artistic form of Jesus himself, hanging on the cross. As I entered the chapel, I became warm. Tingly. Comfortable. Immediately at peace. It was such a welcoming place of worship, and it was truly an honor to be in such a space with so many others from around the world.


I approached the alter and prayed for what felt like hours. Moments of tears, moments of smiles. Intertwined with full gratitude and moments of thankfulness to God for the miracles before me. Being in the presence of the land in Sedona has a way of opening the heart, quietening the mind, and awakening the soul. I kept picturing Reid there with me, and manifested a vision of our return together in the very near future.


We came upon Tlequepaque Arts and Shopping Village. The smells of The Secret Garden Cafe led us to an unexpected happy hour, where we enjoyed some delicious tapas and refreshing beverages, and we were back home before the sun set.
What’s a girl’s trip without wine? We played Trivial Pursuit, sang in the kitchen, laughed, cried, and enjoyed the presence of being together. It felt like home in that moment. We decided that we’d have weekly FaceTime date night form this point forward, as we both realized the necessary healing our friendship brings about for the other.
The next morning, we headed to the Sedona Community Center to check out “A Course in Miracles” and “A Course in Love”. We’d spend the next hour and a half amongst the most open, authentic, Christ-centered individuals. Sharing. Healing. Praying. It was divine. And who would be in the chairs beside us, but none other than my friend Huib from the bread company, and his girlfriend Iona.

At the end of the class, he said to me, “So now you see that meeting me yesterday was no coincidence, yes?” A single tear formed in my eye as I soaked in the truth of what was being spoken to me. As it turns out, Huib and Iona were hosting a dinner party at their home that night. Ashli and I received an invitation to join 7 others and were excited about what the night would bring.

After the class, we ventured the 5-minute drive to our energy healing appointment and met Cherie. I’d read her story on her website prior to our appointment, but in person, she truly was a breath of fresh air. Of authenticity. Of openness and of wholehearted healing. She works out of her home, and it was an inviting, safe, warm, joyful space that brought about a level of trust and comfort for both Ashli and me. I felt connected to her instantly. And the work she’d do on me would leave me transformed. As God would have it, Cherie would be one of the dinner guests that night and we’d be fortunate to spend more time in her presence.

After our energy healing session, we needed nourishment, and took Cherie’s recommendation and visited ChocolaTree. With a table in the garden out back, we’d enjoy fresh ginger lemonade, live spring rolls, vegan chili, goddess salad and the kindest people in the world it seemed. The décor and little ornate signage all around the building caught my eye. Even the parking spaces spoke to me.

We had just enough time to rest at our getaway home, reflect on the day, and just be in the presence of God and each other before we headed out to dinner.

We arrived at Huib and Iona’s home promptly at 7PM and I nearly ran the Jeep off the side of the mountain as I took in the views on the drive in. Ashli was mid-sentence, talking excitedly about something I honestly don’t even recall. “Ashli, stop. Take this in.” It was majestic. It seemed as if we were in a movie, traversing through Hollywood Hills, or somewhere we weren’t meant to be. I had chills as I made the drive through the gate of their home.


The company we’d meet that night was nothing short of delightful. Everyone within those walls was open to trusting intuition, open to trusting God, open to healing, open to authenticity, open to divine grace. I instantly had a vision of visiting this home again, this time with my husband. Throughout the night, I continued to talk about the idea of living there. The energy was calling me. It felt like home. It felt like where I belonged.
I mentioned how several times while in Sedona, I’d seen 11:11 on the clock. 2:22. 3:33. 4:44. 5:55. 11:22. The synchronicities the universe presented to me only reiterated that I was right where I was meant to be and that everything was unfolding exactly as it was intended to unfold. For through God, there are no coincidences. I knew this before, but now there is no question.


Ashli and I ended up making appointments with Huib for myofascial release the next day. It’s funny – I’ve heard my massage therapist talk about it before, and just sort of brushed it off. I thought it was massage work on the face. Little did I know that it moves connective tissue in the body to expose emotional trauma and stale energy. Very similar to massage, but much more transforming. I’ve never cried during a massage session. During this, I cried. Beautiful tears trickled down my cheeks as I released old stories, lies I’ve told myself, broke free from patterns of unhealthy thinking. I felt release on the table in that session. I felt healed. I felt my heart open and each breath that I took in: life. Each breath that I exhaled: things that no longer served me. It was a deep expression of love and awareness that I never expected.

As we left the house that day, I could tell Ashli had been transformed, too. I’d stumbled upon a hot yoga studio that morning while she was in session, and during my session she did a little hiking and journaling at a trail nearby. We both spent the morning in our own healing spaces, doing what our souls needed. No judgement. Very little words. Just being.


At the dinner party Friday night, as I soaked in the library of books adorning the shelves, Iona and I were in conversation. She said something to me that I won’t soon forget. “There are different levels of consciousness that we as humans can experience. When someone can’t hear you, or can’t see you, it’s not their fault. Because that is the level of consciousness they are in. They can’t help it. So we must love them right where they are.” Those words moved me. And will resonate in my heart forever. I often feel like I’m misunderstood, alone in the world, unable to be seen for my authentic self by many in my circle. I realized that this is likely due to not living my authentic self. For trying to please others. For saying what I think people want to hear rather than what’s really in my heart. For melting into the vibrations of others rather than holding my own energy and protecting it. That night in Sedona, I felt I’d found my tribe.

Coming home from this trip, I know and accept that I’m not the same person who left just five days ago. Sedona transformed my spirit. Awakened my soul. Healed old wounds. Re-wrote my story.

I’ve missed my family, but I didn’t want to come home.
I see our life here.
I see my children here.
I see my husband here, and long for him to come visit with me –soon. To experience the journey in his own way, on his own time. For his soul to be quenched, too.

I pray that the healing and divine transformations that Ashli and I discovered in Sedona will remain in our hearts forever. That others will travel to this magnificent place to find their own healing. That we may remain in our true self and express a deeper love to everyone around us. I pray blessings over every single person who touched our souls on that trip. That God may cover them with peace, protection, wisdom, grace, and miracles every day.

I’m grateful for trusting my intuition and going where I felt God leading me.

I’m grateful for a friend who trusted alongside me.

Our openness led to vast moments that transcended the understanding of our own minds. It led to a deepening in our friendship we didn’t fathom existed.

It reminded me of the power that lies within trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and guide, and reminded me that planning isn’t the plan at all. The process is the plan.

Thank you, Sedona. You are our miracle.

How Sadler Got Her Groove Back (And, Her Name)

Sometimes, parenting is really hard. Sometimes, it’s like looking in the mirror at our selves. Tonight offered one of those nights and I’d be remiss if I didn’t document the memory.

Sadler (my 6 1/2 year old daughter) is very sensitive. It doesn’t take much for her to cry, and it can come on quickly. Ask her to please move over and share the sink space with her sister while brushing her teeth, she may cry. Ask her not to fuss at her sister for taking a snack she had her eyes set on, she may cry. Tell her she has to go to the dentist for a teeth cleaning, she WILL cry. Ask her to give back a toy that she took from her sister, she may cry.

All of the above happened today alone.

After the dentist and before the chiropractor, we had an hour or so to spare, so I took the girls to my office so that I could get some work done. It’s times like that when having 2 cell phones with You Tube Kids is something I actually appreciate, and a giant white board with lots of fun colored dry erase markers for drawing and practicing Eureka math comes in handy. They were content for a little over an hour and it was quite nice if I am being honest; I was able to get a good bit done. But toward the end of the hour, I turned and looked behind me and noticed something Sadler had written on the white board.

“I am sad and want sum won to macke me happy so I won’t be sad.” She had even taken it an extra step and drawn a perfectly shaped broken heart under these words. Alas, in black marker.

In that moment, I tickled her, asked her why she was sad and she was cheered up in no time it seemed. But flash forward to bath time a few hours later when she cried for being asked to give her sister back the toy, and I may have overreacted.

“Sadler, you seem to be sad an awful lot lately and cry for no good reason.
You’re using a whole lot of good energy and wasting tears. Why are you so sad?”

I brought up the note she wrote on the white board earlier in the day and told her that people don’t “make us sad”. That we have a choice to be sad or to be happy and that sometimes (or a lot of the time), our feelings can trick us into going to a place in our minds that we shouldn’t go. I told her that while it’s okay to feel sad or to feel mad or to feel embarrassed, we shouldn’t build a house there — we can’t stay sad or mad or embarrassed forever.

Fast forward to bedtime. Tonight’s books chosen to read: On the Night You Were Born and Where Ever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman. (Side note: I am beyond grateful that when our family hosted a beautiful baby shower for us before Sadler was born, they requested guests to bring a signed book rather than a card. Oh, the book collection we started before this child was even born! And a shout-out to my dear friends Melissa and Nicole for gifting us those 2 precious books – xoxo)

As we were reading On The Night You Were Born, after I read the words “You are a miracle…” she said, “Hey Mommy, what’s a miracle?”
“A miracle is something that happens that you thought never would. Something that only God knows how and why it happened. And you’re MY miracle.”
She furrowed her brow.
“Mommy’s doctor told her once that my body wasn’t working like it should and I would never be able to have my own kids.”
Her eyes lit up.
“Well, that sounds like a pretty silly doctor. And that’s pretty cool. My friend Miracle has the same name as a miracle,just like my name means that I’m sad.”

I may have stopped breathing for a second. Or maybe my heart stopped beating for just a tiny bit. I don’t know. But I knew I had to stop reading to straighten up a few things for her. My spirit was crushed that my little girl had taken her name and labeled herself as sad, and I was crushed to think that she actually believed it.

“Sadler, has Mommy ever told you where your name came from?”
Grins. “No. But tell me.”
“When Mommy got pregnant with you and found out you would be a girl, I asked GaGa what her Mommy’s name was. And her name was Cecilia Sadler. The moment I heard it, I knew that would be your first name. And my Mama Dot’s name was Dorothy Mae, so that’s how you became Sadler Mae Terrell.”

She smiled, a big smile. And then she wanted to know how her sister got her name. I told her that I had a friend in college who named her daughter Everly and I just loved the name, but that Everly’s middle name (Jean) came from Great Granny Betty (Betty Jean), GaGa (Debra Jean), my aunt Linda Jean who lives in heaven and Ga Ga’s daddy (Gene) who also lives in heaven.

“Mommy, Everly and me are SO LUCKY.”

“You sure are, my sweet girl.”

That moment will be one I never forget for as long as I live.
The joy I saw in her eyes as she listened attentively to her namesake was precious in every way. And the realization that she’d never have to identify herself as “sad Sadler” ever again, for now she knew the truth about how she came to be Sadler Mae.

We talked about how she could respond if someone made fun of her name and called her “Sad” — and boy is she ready! She repeated back to me (almost verbatim) what I told her, and even remembered that a “silly doctor told Mommy that her body was broken and she couldn’t have a baby, but she did.”

What a miracle you are, Sadler Mae.
What a blessing you are to your Daddy and I.
What an incredible big sister you are to Everly Jean.
What a gigantic heart you have.

You think you’re lucky. You have no idea how lucky I feel that God chose me to be your mama.

And as I tucked the girls in and we said our prayers, I asked her what she wanted to pray for:
“For Daddy to get home safely tonight and not to have mud on his shoes.
For me to never have to eat mushrooms again because I don’t like them.
And for God to give me a brother or a sister.”

Oh, dear.

My 30 Day Social Media Experiment

For a good while, I’ve tried to embrace the love/hate relationship that I have developed with social media.

I love the way it connects us to people we aren’t physically close to, and I love how we can encourage and inspire others by sharing our stories and experiences. I love how it helps us find an apartment or a yoga studio or a good networking opportunity. I love the way we have a handheld way to chronicle our lives through photographs and paragraphs and share these memories with those who want to be a part of our journey through the screen and scroll.

Yet I hate the scroll. I hate the comparison trap. I hate the divisiveness. I hate the hatred.

We take our selfies when we’re at our best and post them for others to see when they are in potentially their worst. We showcase our new stuff and our big houses and our vacations and our family memories and our sporting events and our flowers and our jewelry and our cars and then press the home button to get back to real life.

We hop from one app to the other, scrolling for something new that gets our attention. What comment threads can we read? What assumptions can we make about people by reading their thoughts in a heated online argument (because even if you don’t think you will, you are.) and do we comment also?

I find myself taking photos of my kids, and thinking they must be posted right away (because I’ll forget, of course). And then I spend a few minutes thinking about the caption, and if it needs hashtags, and should I do only hashtags or a caption, too? Should I include their names in the hashtag?…

Then the little red numbers start popping up on the icon on my phone. Someone liked my picture. {smile and heart swell}. They commented. Do I comment back? Sometimes I try, but sometimes I just don’t want to. Is that rude? Oh, another comment – this is so flattering! People think my kids are just as amazing as I do.

Maybe I will just take the app off my phone and that way I can only see Facebook if I go to the website. And turn off the notifications so that there are no distracting red numbers in circles.

But what if I just don’t look at all. (Well, with the exception of monitoring business pages for my job once a day, which I will explain later…). But what if I just don’t Facebook at all, for 30 days. What would that look like?

Most of you probably don’t know this about me, but I am incredibly sensitive and feel things around me much differently than you most likely do. (If you are a “feeler” like me, lets chat because I am always looking to build my tribe with those who get it.) Through the lens of social media, I am able to discern in others: pain, joy, authenticity, rage, fear, dishonesty and thankfully, love. But it’s heavy. I’ve wondered what it would be like to just cut off social media altogether. But then, I discover a fantastic new restaurant to take my family to by a Facebook share. It’s tough, I know.

So, for me personally, I am ready to do something about it. I’m off Facebook–a test with a strategy coming alive as my fingers strike these keys. Here’s my plan:

  1. Starting right this minute and for the next thirty days, I will not use Facebook for personal reasons*. I have already deleted the app from my phone.
  2. Because my job requires me to monitor the digital presence of our apartment communities, I will view each business page once per day and will only be on Facebook for this purpose. (Don’t worry SPG, my duties will not slack by way of this experiment!)
  3. I will continue to take pictures of my kids and life as it happens, and at the end of the thirty days, I will share the good ones, sort of as the comic strip of our summer. I appreciate that many of you truly love seeing our photos – we’ve got family all over the country and watching our girls grow up online is a blessing that I am grateful for.
  4. In the time I’ve now gained in my day, I will spend it living more in the moment, and less in the story. I’m gonna time block specific times in my day to check Facebook for work, and to check email.
  5. I’m gonna spend my downtime filling out paperwork and reading books to finish my doula certification because God’s answered my prayer and that’s just what I’m supposed to do. Thinking back on those hours when I served those three different mamas, in three different stages of their journey, and the joy I truly felt deep into my core. I won’t ever forget the way that felt. And God will make a way for me to doula for mothers while working in my current role, too. I feel it in my bones.
  6. Lastly, anytime I take a picture of the girls and normally would have posted it to Facebook or IG, I’m going to email it to them instead. I set up email addresses for each of the girls when they were born and I honestly don’t send them stuff as much as I could. Instead of posting to FB or IG over the next 30, I can send them their own personal captions along with the video or pic. I imagine how cool it will be for Sadler to turn 14 and find out she has an email account full of emails from the last decade of her life. (I would have loved this!)..her own digital scrapbook from her mama’s perspective (and anyone else who emails her – that’s the beauty of it, her grandparents and daddy and cousins and family friends who have her email address can send her things, too.) This has been one of my biggest parenting wins and I’ve patted myself on the back a couple of times for setting it up, I just need a pat on the butt to keep it moving along! So hopefully this experiment will light a spark to send more emails to my little ladies.

I’m excited about this. I hope I’ve inspired someone to take a break, too.

Optimistic this downtime from social media will allow me to be more present. (I plan to disconnect from Instagram, too. I deleted it from my phone.) I hope this downtime will allow me to be more sensitive to God’s purpose for me. To center me and reset me and desensitize me from the junk of the world.

Expect a followup post about my journey through this experiment. Namaste, y’all.

*Sadler’s birthday is coming up very soon and we will use Facebook as our source of invitation. Friends and family that normally get those from us, look for that to come from Reid most likely 😉

Happy Mother’s Day

Life is profound. I’ve found myself using the word profound a lot lately. It perfectly describes too many situations for us these days.

Like the other night when Reid and I were fighting and everything around the room felt tense and impossible, my Amazon radio station that randomly shuffles over 200 songs, played 7 songs in a row that happen to be my favorite worship songs. They’re my favorites because for they’ve each spoken to my heart one or more times and I’m moved even still when I hear them. There are no coincidences in this life. God had my back (and my heart) in those moments.

Like the profound difference in my day I’ve noticed if I start it early. And in a place of praise and prayer. If I spend a few minutes outside inhaling Spring and watching the sun peek over the tops of the trees. If I read my Bible. If I journal. If I meditate. If I’m still. Those days — those days are different. Those days pay off for me and have a profound effect on what happens as the day goes on. On mornings when I rush through and get too wrapped up in my self, I lose my footing. I raise my voice. I cry.

When I started to see my prayers be answered, I had a profound sense of trust in God envelop me. When I hear the Holy Spirit tell me how to specifically pray for challenges I may be facing, I obey. I’ve seen a profound difference in my ratio of answered prayers to unanswered prayers from speaking my prayers out loud. Every morning in the shower, I talk to God. I thank him for giving me another morning. For the breath I just took and for the opportunity to be alive another day. I pray fervently for my husband. For my children. For the people in my life who I know are hurting. For healing. For comfort. For discernment. For wisdom. For strength. For JOY to fill my cup.

I’ve prayed for brokenhearted friends. I’ve prayed for strangers. I’ve prayed for broken marriages. I’ve prayed against generational curses and decades of sin and shame and unforgiveness that so many of us are suffering through. I’ve prayed for God to show me my spiritual gifts and how to use them. And I’ve prayed for those who need salvation to hear the gospel before this all ends.

I’ve prayed that I can see others as God sees them, and to just love no matter what. I’ve prayed that those around me could do the same.

God’s been doing profound work in our lives.

But yesterday, I had a moment with Everly that may take the cake. Reid and Sadler were out shopping for Mother’s Day gifts, and we were in Everly’s room putting away laundry. She was playing with her doll and spinning around and singing. And all of a sudden she stopped and asked me to open her PlayDo. And as I watched her from the rocking chair, it hit me. The profound realization that my baby was no longer a baby. But bigger than that, we were done having babies.

I’d rocked my last to sleep.

No more Onesies. Or diapers.

No more breastfeeding…

After 29 months, she finally weaned. We were finished nursing. The “boombas” have been given back to mommy.

The profound realization that I had seen the last of mothering a baby. I began to weep. I immediately grabbed her, picked her up and held her tight. I sat in the rocker as she fought me to get down. I asked her to please let me hold her, for just one minute as we rocked. She reached up and grabbed my face and said, “Mommy, are you OK?”

I lost it. My baby just asked me a question in a complete sentence. I sobbed and sobbed and kissed her and it seemed that every blinking moment with my babies that I have ever had passed through my lens. I saw all the good moments, all the challenging moments, all the times when I thought parenting couldn’t be any harder. All the times when I felt less engaged that I could have been, or the times I was frustrated and wished myself anywhere but in that given moment.

I didn’t want to put her down. What was only about 5 minutes seemed as long as two nap times. I imagined every afternoon I had in that rocking chair with her, burying my face in her neck as she drifted off to sleep. I remembered the evening standing in the laundry room, when I was about 6 months pregnant with her, that I told Reid we had made a mistake bringing another child into the world. That our marriage wasn’t strong enough and that it would be unfair for her to come into the world.

Little did I know that giving birth to her would be the start of a journey I’d been viewing from the sidelines. I didn’t get in the game with my spirituality until she was born. That in her two short years here, our marriage would crumble and then strengthen. God has had his hand on our marriage. Realizing and seeing and trusting that has been profound.

Motherhood started for me with a scapula and lots of tugging and pulling. That was how Sadler came along Earth side. With Everly, it was different. She blessed me with the ultimate gift of motherhood being born vaginally. She opened something spiritual within me and awakened my soul. And what a profound blessing from God she is.

These girls are amazing wonders to me. I look at them in deep, profound wonder on most days. But it will never be enough. Parenting is hard, and it’s easy to think you aren’t doing it good enough when there is a giant comparison trap in society. I’d rather they have good hearts than snobby attitudes. I’d rather they be giving than selfish, and I’d rather they be kind than cruel. I pray they always see the good in people and that they will find their passions and what calls them. I pray they will live. I pray they will love. I pray that Reid and I can speak life into them every day that they are breathing, and I pray that they will grow up to be the best of friends.

I’ve got a profound gratitude for all of the mothers out there. Mothers make new mothers, and even if it’s the hardest job we’ll ever love, motherhood should be cherished. When the days seem harder than they should, and nothing goes the way we’d planned, may we all just surrender and thank God he gave us the chance to be a mother in the first place.

Happy Birthday. Welcome to Now.

One year ago yesterday, I shared my very first blog post on this site. I actually bought this laptop for the sole purpose of starting this blog.

It wasn’t the first time I had written on the internet; I had a Tumblr account that I piddled with once-upon-a-time. But, when this site was born last February, it was different.

I’d been pulled in a direction that led me to write again, but this time, it’d be different. I had recently made the decision to leave my career to stay at home and be a mom. I felt God telling me to be patient and not to worry, but to slow down. I knew I’d have to find ways to make money from home and did a little bit of research on making money through blogging. But that wasn’t what was important to me. I was eager to walk in my truth and tell my story.

I felt called to put my creative gifts and love for communication and passion for inspiring others to the test, creating the ultimate trifecta. Writing gave me life and fulfillment and sprinkled pure joy in my days. (I pray it always will.)

What may come as a surprise, however, is that when I get the urge to write, it stops me in my tracks. My blog post ideas l i t e r a l l y come out of nowhere, and I usually have to stop what I am doing and go write. And the not-so-cool part about it is: I can’t stand writing from my phone or tablet. It MUST be on a laptop or something with keys. That I can aggressively and quickly bang (ask my new co-workers/roommates or darling husband, they will attest to my annoyingly loud typing. Bless them all for their tolerance.) But my point is, I have to get to my computer, dial up my diffuser and get busy. I’m not much of a mobile blogger much at all. Ever, really.

But y’all. I can’t help it. I just get moved to say stuffAll the feels. ALL THE JOY.

When I opened my laptop to pull up WordPress to write this post tonight, I noticed a folder on my desktop that I created a few months ago: “Things That Move Me”.

I only saved one thing in it…

Hugh Laurie

This quote says so much about my journey last year. There was so much uncertainty and many faith-based decisions. I had no idea when I started this blog what it’d lead to. I just figured I’d inconsistently write when I felt the urge. I wrote each post from the heart and was sincerely moved by each opportunity to share my journey with a friend or stranger.

Writing became my safe space. My release. My peace.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that 2,220 people would view my site 3,288 times in 27 countries all over the world in just one year. Goodness gracious, am I grateful.

I’m deeply touched for each blink of an eye that my words sit between. I appreciate each kind remark and comment. It’s been an honor to share my heart with you.

To think about all that’s happened since this blog began brings me back to grace, and gratitude, and awestruck wonder. God’s led me into deeper waters. I never want to feel like I’ve arrived, but I sure do long for more.

If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that this time of year is just not my best. I battle darkness during this season each year of my life. I’m certain lots of us do. I’m thankful that things like writing and hot yoga and coffee and worship music bring me back to life on tough days.

Here is to Spring being around the corner.  But for now, may we ride the wave of this season together and keep our eyes on what we can’t see. There’s beauty there.

309 Days

Do you know what the word epiphany means? Lots of us have heard it. Used it. But do you r e a l l y know? It’s an experience of sudden and striking realization. When you figure something out, almost always out of thin air, and the thought comes to you that allows you to finally piece together the puzzle.

Was the cup half full? Or was it half empty?

It doesn’t really matter, because the cup was refillable…

It had been 309 days. That’s how long I lasted as a stay-at-home-Mom.

I started this post on December 5th and it hasn’t been touched since then. I started writing it the night before I went back to work as I laid in bed. I fell asleep without finishing it. Since then, I’ve often thought about what I would write when I picked it back up again.

And in my mind, I honestly didn’t have a strong pull for what direction this post should even go next. Should I write about how incredible my new job is? How it was the first job posting I read on that cold Sunday November afternoon (just days after deciding to go back to work) and when I read through the job description, I felt deep in my bones that it was meant for me? And how I got so excited about getting called for an interview, that I took my kids for ice cream before dinner?

Or should I write about the guilt part? The part about feeling invisible on many of my days as a SAHM, or the part about feeling guilty for feeling like I need to be seen in the first place?

The reason why I was hung up on finishing this blog post was because the part I was meant to tell in this story hadn’t happened yet…

As I rocked Everly to sleep tonight, in our favorite spot in the house, I started to cry. I could hear her tiny snore and closed my eyes as I rested my lips on the top of her head. The smell of her fresh bath, the limp weight of her sleeping body against my chest. I didn’t want to put her down.

It was tonight that I became overwhelmed with gratitude for the days I had with her. For all the afternoons we had together as we walked to school to pick up Sadler from Kindergarten.

For all the musical story times in the park we got to attend with Mr. Pete, and for all the fun Costco trips, eating samples and smiling at strangers.

It was tonight that I realized how much more engaged I’ve felt with my girls since I went back to work. I felt it the very first night; I remember that first night vividly. I couldn’t stop smiling. I remember noticing that I looked more at the details of their faces.

It was tonight that I recalled the moment I had my epiphany, and how I’d come to realize that my time home with my girls gave them more quantity time with me, but certainly not more quality time. I had allowed myself to become a martyr to my home, my chores, my expectations as a wife, my role as a mother. I wasn’t happy, and I was in denial about it.

It was tonight that I realized how grateful I am for every experience I had last year. For every bit of perspective that was gained. For every book that was read. For every new person that I met. For every old friend that I reconnected with, and for every (sometimes) long winded phone conversation. For e v e r y s i n g l e minute I shared with my children. For every essential oil class I taught. For MOPS. For it all –I am, and will forever be grateful.

It was tonight that I smiled when I thought to myself, “I love my new job.” I am grateful for the wonderful people I work with and for the deep level of engagement each of my co-workers pours into in their roles. I love the energy in our office and that everyone has a good sense of humor. I love that I’m connected again with my property management family, and that I’ve met so many kind people on our site teams and in our corporate office. And although its been less than sixty days, I feel like I’ve worked there for months.

It was tonight that I acknowledged the rhythm that my husband and I seem to have found. The parenting balance that seems to feel a little gentler, a little more predictable, a little more whole.

It was tonight that I acknowledged never to take another day for granted, and that something as simple as a lunch break with adults five days a week can make you feel like a real human again.

There really is so much I could say about this new chapter in my story, and how the pages even turned to this point in the first place. If you had told me a mere season ago that I’d be back at work by year end, I would have probably rolled my eyes, and maybe even debated with you.

I will forever remember 2017 as the year I “woke up”. The year I grew closer to God and slowed down. The year I deepened in spirit and the veil was lifted. The year that I came alive to the awareness of what it means to truly be in your life path and followed my spiritual GPS. The year I gained wisdom of the power of the spoken word, learned the critical importance of gratitude, meditation, and how to better take care of my body.

And, most importantly, it was the year I had the privilege of being at home with my children. To be a Mama. To be a part of their every day, from start to finish. Every good day, every bad day. Every new experience, every memory, every adventure. We had an incredible year together and it’s one I will remember for the rest of my life.

My heart is full tonight.

I’ve got all the feels.

I chose joy then, and there isn’t a doubt I still do. Every day.